You probably know designer Reed Krakoff for his contributions to American fashion through his work at Coach and at his eponymous label, but what you might not know is that his talents reach far beyond fashion design: he's also a skilled photographer. Next month, Krakoff is releasing a book of black-and-white portraits called Women In Art: Figures of Influence, which captures some of the most powerful ladies in the contemporary art community. The designer-turned-photographer visited galleries, museums, and collections all over the world to create the book, but all of the women featured share a common thread — their creativity and confidence have catapulted them to the top of their field. We caught up with Krakoff at the launch of the new tome at Bergdorf Goodman, where he told us what inspired him to shoot these inspiring women and who he hopes to work with next.
What qualities about these women do you admire most, and what made you choose to shoot them?
They are all strong, powerful, and determined — women who have their own way of combining femininity and sensuality and being powerful and strong. It is the amazing balance between the two ideas that I think characterizes the ideal woman.
Similarly, what qualities do you envision in a woman that you are designing your Reed Krakoff label for?
One of the reasons we worked on this was that we found that these women really characterized this juxtaposition of power, confidence, and strength, but also femininity and a sense of sensuality and being a woman.
For a young career woman who is looking to build a wardrobe, where should she start? Are there certain pieces that you suggest investing in?
I think great tailoring is something that kind of is around and you can have for years. And it is something that can be serious but also can be sexy and attractive — it can be looked at in both ways.
You've had the pleasure of dressing a lot of very powerful women, Michelle Obama being the most buzzed about recently. Is there one woman who you admire that you'd love to dress in your eponymous label?
I'll give you a few that I'd love to dress. I'd love to dress Rooney Mara. I fell in love with her when she was in Dragon Tattoo — I thought she was an amazing combination of super-sexy but also strong. Another one would be Beyoncé. I would also like to dress the French First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. There are so many!